Deep-Seeded vs. Deep-Seated
If you’re one who constantly uses the phrase deep-seeded to convey that something has been ingrained or established, then you’re probably perplexed by the revelation this phrase is incorrect. But how could “deep-seeded” not be the logical phrasing for something that is buried deep within someone or something? Seeds, after all, are planted and expected to take root and grow.
The confusion originated in the 1800s. Seed was used as a verb when discussing competitions; it means “to schedule” or “to rank” competitors.
"Several years ago, it was decided to 'seed' the best players through the championship draw, and this was done for two or three years." — William Dana Orcutt, American Lawn Tennis, 1898
Seat can also mean to place someone or install in a position of dignity. It, therefore, was confused and used interchangeably with seed when referencing sports rankings.
When referring to something that is deeply rooted or established, deep-seated—an adjective defined as “situated far below the surface” and “firmly established”—is the correct term.
“In spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power-almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.” –Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving, 1956
Merriam-Webster, “Is It 'Deep-Seated' or 'Deep-Seeded'?” accessed October 14, 2019, https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/deep-seated-deep-seeded-usage.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, s.v. “deep-rooted,” accessed October 14, 2019, http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, s.v. “seat,” accessed October 14, 2019, http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, s.v. “seed,” accessed October 14, 2019, http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com.